16 June 2016
This coming Sunday, too many of us will miss out on a beautiful and long-standing international holiday: Father’s Day. Since the huge majority of Moms never abandon their children, the presence (or absence) of an involved Father is the single biggest variable in the future emotional, mental and physical health of a child. It also had a huge role in the probability that a teenager ends up pregnant, on drugs, in jail or dead. On the other hand, children who grow up with actively involved Dads are much more likely to graduate from high school and college, live to a ripe old age and enjoy better physical, emotional and mental health.
Father’s Day reminds us Dads that Fatherhood is the single most important job any of us will ever have. It reminds us that in serving our families, especially in the difficult times, we ourselves grow in character and compassion. Father’s Day is a day both to celebrate our own Dads (for no father is perfect) and to celebrate the sacred privilege of being a Dad. My own father abandoned us when I was young, so it’s been a long haul to understand and practice the virtues of fatherhood. But it has been a beautiful journey. Not everyone can be a CEO or a millionaire. But everyone can be a great Dad or a loving Mom. And in the end those are the jobs that matter most, not just to our families and ourselves but to our society and our world.
So this Sunday take time to thank your Dad. Tell him how much you love him. Tell him how much you appreciate all he has done for you. Was he perfect? Of course not. Did he make mistakes? For sure…and I’m sure he regrets them now. I had to learn to forgive my father, for he abandoned us for 25 years until his death almost 10 years ago. But I came to realize that my harboring bitterness against him was like swallowing poison and waiting for him to die. The poison of bitterness was just eating up my own soul. Don’t let that happen to you or your family. Be the person who forgives if forgiveness is needed. Start the cycle of love this Father’s Day.
And if you are a Dad, be sure to love on your wife and your kids today…and every day. Some of us (especially those of use with Chinese Dads) come from a tradition where Fathers never hugged their kids or told them “I love you.” My fellow Fathers, our children need our love. So this Father’s Day let’s start a new tradition. Let’s tell each one of our kids I LOVE YOU. I’M PROUD OF YOU. NO MATTER WHAT HAPPENS, I’M WITH YOU FOR THE REST OF YOUR LIFE. This is what all kids long to hear from their Dads, along with an appropriate pat on the back or gentle hug. Let’s give our kids the love they need. We don’t want them looking for it elsewhere, that is for sure!!
Fatherhood, Motherhood and Family have been cornerstones of every civilized society in history. That is always going to be true. So let’s take a moment this Sunday to celebrate our own Dad, to bless our wife and children with our love…and to celebrate the blessing of being fathers ourselves.
Happy Father’s Day!!
Gregory W. Slayton, Chairman
The Fellowship of Fathers Foundation (www.FellowshipOfFathersFoundation.org and
Family First Asia (www.FamilyFirstAsia.com )